The CD : Jitney Jams Year III

We were a few months late getting them out again this year, but the Jitney's Jams is back and ready to blare through your stereo system.

{If you don't know about our annual album, read about the history behind it here.}


The theme for this year's album is: Wake Up

This may come as a surprise to you but months of thought go into our album - 12 months, to be exact - sometimes even more. {We already have a few songs on the 25-year anniversary playlist. CDs probably won't be around by that year though.} Our goal each year is to methodically plan the songs to flow in certain ways. 

This year's mix was planned in such a way to demonstrate our waking up physically and also spiritually throughout this past year. Each song or a few lyrics from each song have a special meaning behind it. Granted "our meaning" behind a lot of the songs are probably way different from the intentional meanings of the lyrics. For instance, some of the lyrics in the song "Lover of the Light" by Mumford & Sons are parallel to our walks with Christ, as He is the Light, but you'll have the chance to read all about those meanings soon. 

There is purpose in every song that we've added to every album, but this is the first year we'll be sharing those purposes with you. We'll post about the explanations in a blog series so that it's not info overload. The first post will explain songs #1-5, the second post #6-10, and you get the point. 

Hope you enjoy!!

OH! And, of course, this year we will be sending CDs out to a few of our blog readers. If you would like a copy, comment below or on our Facebook page. We'd love for you to jam out with us! 






Free Printable!! Finding Our First Home with a House Searching Score Sheet


If you follow me on Pinterest, you have probably noticed a lengthy feed of house renovation inspirations. We haven't bought our first home yet but we are looking heavily.

It all started when I was searching on Trulia and Zillow for houses in our price range. We were debating between buying an old house and putting some elbow grease into it or just breaking down and buying a new home (aka: the cookie cutter). 

Everything we looked at in our range looked cheap (granted, our price range is super, super low). It was hard to imagine that we would ever move out of our spacious apartment into a home that we could really call home.

Then my mom sent me an email of one that we fell in love with

Borderline obsession.

It was an older home (1960s) but the family renovated it in such a perfect way. 
Barnwood accent wall.
Butcher block countertops with double oven and green accent cabinets.
Real brick and mortar backsplash.
Bathroom cabinets were made out of repurposed vintage dressers with amazing sinks.
BEAUTIFUL hardwood flooring throughout and true tile (not laminate) in the wet areas.
Awesome backyard and patio.
Lovely full brick exterior with heavy barnwood shutters.
Best of all? They converted the garage into 3/4 of a large sunroom and 1/4 of it as a laundry room.
The sunroom would be my new studio.

AND - we had the exact 20% down payment stashed away. On the dot.

I could picture it all... until we put in our offer and the agent said someone else had offered the full listing price. 

Devastation.

After a number of shed tears, JD gave me the sweetest pep talk. He reminded me that God didn't intend for it to be our first home, but rather our inspiration. We would find an older home and give it the same love and care as that couple did for the home we fell in love with. We could do that too. We just needed to find a home with a nice floor plan, a bedroom that our queen-sized bed could actually fit in (not a whole lot of those in our price range), a couple of bathrooms, a room for my studio, and a great backyard for gardening. 

We pulled our bootstraps up, found a great real estate agent and have been searching ever since.

Houses seem to get a little redundant after you've seen a few, so I decided to make a scoring sheet for each house. If you work with a realtor, she / he will normally give you an MLS sheet on the house. This describes the specifics: square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, size of rooms, appliances included, etc.

You can write notes on these sheets but I prefer charts and checklists. After looking at a couple of houses, I decided to design the survey below. It's a free printable and we would love for you to use it if you think it would help in your house search too!

Today, we continue in our adventure for buying our first home with clipboard in hand:


Lovely clipboard from the dollar bins at Michael's

How to Use the Printable:
Write the house address at the top. When you're finished looking at houses for the day, rank them in the top right-hand corner. (example: 1/6)

Basically, I created a scale from 1 - 10 for the appearance of the neighborhood, exterior of house, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and backyard. For closet space, I rate it on how much space there is, the appearance of the closet, etc. For elbow grease, I rate it from 1 (being not a whole lot of work needs to be put into it on our part) or 10 (may need to demolish the whole thing and rebuild it from the ground up). There should be enough space between the lines for you to write notes on each topic.

At the bottom, you'll find a Notes box and places to check off if there is a garage and laundry room, as well as the types of flooring in the house (carpet, hardwoods, tile, laminate).

Most importantly, the question of if you can make it a home... 
Yes, you can make any house a home
but think about if it's worth it.
Is it worth investing into?
Does it have charm / character or can you add that yourself?

**If you choose to share this free printable on your blog or website, please give credit where credit is due and link it back to our blog, Jitney's Journeys. 


Right-click, save image, then print. May be printed on a 5" x 8" index card.

We hope this helps in your search of a home! 

Don't forget to check out our other printables in our Etsy shop here.








That's Amore : A Todd Nest Valentine's Day Tradition

Happy Valentine's Day!!


Is that an ironing board... with chicken and candles?

Why, yes, it most certainly is.

Valentine's Day is a super sweet day for couples, but let's be honest here - 
Restaurants are always packed and overpriced,
heels are nice but house shoes are comfier,
floral arrangements are expensive and
candles sure smell sweeter in your own home.

{can you tell we're homebodies?}

So we celebrate Valentine's Day by cooking dinner together,
in our own home, and setting it all up on our ironing board by candlelight,
just like we did in 2009 in my ole' apartment at Auburn University.

Oh - and lots of chocolate. We eat lots of chocolate. :)


As cliche as it sounds, every day is Valentine's Day for us. We love marriage, we love each other and we love celebrating those things every single day. I can't imagine our marriage being any other way.

JD and I love creating new traditions and celebrating old traditions as Mr. & Mrs. 
As quirky and simple as it is, we wanted to give you a little sneak peek into the way we have celebrated love on Valentine's Day.

Do you have any special Valentine's Day traditions?


Germany : Heidelberg Christmas Markets

It's cold in Germany.

Many of you may not think it's cold, but for a couple of newlywed kiddos from the Deep South like us... it was cold. 

But Germany has Christmas Markets.

So the cold was easy to overlook.

Each town hosts at least one Christmas Market in Germany. "Amazing" cannot even describe it. Most people are cheerful, friendly and inviting. "Merry Christmas" banners hang on sides of the buildings, and guess what? People don't protest them or rip them down. In America, people try to protest nativity scenes and anything that says the word Christmas; but not in Germany. They believe in Christmas and they celebrate it like no country we've ever seen.

This particular Christmas Market was in Heidelberg, Germany. Five different markets lined the main street of the town: Kornmarkt, Markplatz, Universitatplatz, Anatomiegarten, and the Bismarckplatz. 

See the line of lights in the photo below? Those are the walkways between the Christmas markets....

Before we shopped, we had to make one crucial stop. 

Food.

Check out the Fuerwurst that I grabbed at the Christmas Market booth above.

Delish.

JD got the steak with onions.

Are you a Nutella fan?

If so, go to Germany. Everything is Nutella there, including the special crepes.

Ok - so we realize that kissing pictures are cheesy and a lot of people don't think they're very cool... but how can you resist when there is a store right in front of you called Coffee & Kiss? 

I mean, you really have no other choice, right?!

Below you will see a gigantic Christmas Pyramid - life size, at that. 

I could've stood and stared at this thing until it got dark. 

And maybe we did...

(Haha - kidding, we walked back to it after we finished touring the markets and it just so happened to be all lit up.)

How beautiful is that!?

When we realized how big of a deal Christmas Pyramids were in Germany, we just had to get one for our own Todd Nest. Each tier displays a piece of the Christmas story - except Baby Jesus isn't on there. We like to think that the candles display who He is - the Light.

Have you ever seen one of these in person? It's super cool. The heat from the candles rise and spin the propellers at the top, which in turn spins each tier. It's one of our favorite Christmas decorations.

What is your favorite Christmas decoration?

Thanksgiving Rummaging and Reminiscing

Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone!

Most of you have probably had five blog posts since Thanksgiving Day but we wanted to share our weekend with y'all anyway. :) I cannot wait to spend a couple of hours delving into your blogs, checking out your holiday happenings thus far. 

Thanksgiving is such a great holiday. As much as I love giving gifts (and let's be honest... receiving gifts), Thanksgiving is one of the rare holidays that is all about family and friends. No tangible gifts. Just the gift of community. How awesome is that?

We spent the weekend at JD's parents in West Alabama. As some of you may know, JD's dad celebrated his eightieth birthday in October. Yeah - celebrate good times! C'mon!

He kicks it better than any eighty-year-old man we know. He walks about seven miles every day... after breakfast, after dinner (and probably most days after lunch). 

So we joined in, walking sticks and all.


And it was such a blessed time. 

There is just something so special about Thanksgiving walks with the fam. I'll never forget one Thanksgiving Day I spent walking under the amber trees at Lake Oconee (aka The Bungalow) a few years ago with my sweet Gingin. She shared with me how crucial it is to savor every moment, because you really never know when it will be the last. You think you know that until your grandmother reminds you. Then you realize you really don't know much at all so you better soak in every ounce of wisdom she has. JD and I are both thankful for the wisdom and lessons our precious parents and grandparents have taught us.

Back to the weekend....

JD's childhood room is still decked out in baseball posters. Stacks of baseball cards (with chalky gum still in the plastic wrapping of unopened cards) line the walls. Random Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figurines can be found in drawers and high school and collegiate awards still hang proudly on the walls. Needless to say, I love sleeping in there. It makes me feel like I can share a special part of him that I never had the chance of knowing. 

We spent the weekend trying to clean it out but had trouble since so much held a special place in JD's memory. Obviously, we had to share a few of our favorite finds with you...


The American Gladiator soup thermos. The black slanted writing is none other than the names of each gladiator. What!?


We rummaged through old papers and sermon notes. The ones above and below were favorites of mine. 

Why?

Because it proves that opposites truly do attract. 

JD's occupations of dissimilar interests include all but one of the things I wanted to do in life. When I was young, I spent every day in the basement teaching an imaginary classroom while writing lessons on several chalkboards for my "third grade students". I started college majoring in Radio, Televison and Film to be a News Anchor / Reporter - and switched halfway to finish my studies in Public Relations instead. And now... I would love to teach an art class. 

My only non-interest was a medical illustrator.

At least we agreed on one area of dissimilar interest.


However, my favorite find was this: JD's written testimony from high school (pictured below). Even though our stories of salvation never change, our testimonies of God's goodness and mercy are ever-changing in such a beautiful way. It was so awesome to read about the place God had JD in that season of life. 


And then we found this... a poem JD wrote in college that made goosebumps pop up on my arms. 

My sweet husband is such a humble man. Reading things like this make me fall even deeper in love with him and Christ. I am thankful for him.


Unbeknownst to me, JD set up my new sewing machine and all of my supplies in front of the TV (so he could watch football while I sewed) while I was sorting through his childhood room.


Thus goes the weekend: Walking, Turkey, Walking, Sewing, Football, Eating, Cleaning, Organizing, Sewing, and Walking. :)


What was your favorite Thanksgiving memory from this year??


Linking up with Molly & Carly for #YOLOMondays! Please go check them out and show some love! :)



Surprise! Did You Know We Were Movie Stars for Twelve Seconds??

Today we're linking up with Molly & Carly for #YOLOMondays! 

Keeping in line with our last post about extras...

Did you know JD and I were in a movie??

Yeah. Like, we were stars for about twelve seconds. It was awesome.


Ok, so it was only an ABC Family movie. BUT we officially made it onto Netflix. What!?

If you want to check out our part, without watching the rest of the movie - you can.

Movie: My Future Boyfriend
(It was originally named "Always & Forever" which we liked a lot better, but oh well.)

Time Stat: somewhere around the 39 minute mark.


About three months after graduating from college / three months into our marriage, we were living in "The Bungalow" (AKA: a cabin right next to my gracious grandparents on Lake Oconee). I was jobless and JD had just gotten a small job at a technology storefront in town. Needless to say, we had a small income and very flexible schedules.

So when we heard about Extras Casting Atlanta on Facebook, we were super pumped.



We heard about this company via my brother, Chase.

Side note: You can see him as an extra in the movie Wanderlust. We watched the movie on the airplane just to get a screenshot of him...



A day or so after we "liked" the company, we saw an opportunity pop up for a "kissing couple." We emailed one of our wedding photos and an engagement photo that night and two days later, we got a phone call asking us to be in the movie.


They asked us to bring in a few outfits for the wardrobe department to choose for our part. The wardrobe dept. told JD "Your outfit looks perfect," then pointed to me and said, "Uhh... What else do you have?"

I ended up with the floral dress and JD ended up with a green polo and shorts.

Then we got on set...

The director looked at JD and said, "What is he wearing? Did you even go through the wardrobe dept? Go change."

We got a pretty big laugh out of this. The wardrobe dept. got him some khakis and dress shoes within a few minutes, and we were back on set.

Our part was "so important" that we were not allowed to play as extras in any other part of the movie because the audience would notice us. This led to an entire twelve hours on set (getting paid $9 an hour), only to act for 30 minutes of it.

Our part?

We were supposed to portray "love" so JD bought me a rose, we kissed and walked off.

They shot about four different angles and we were finished.

About nine months later, someone wrote on my Facebook wall: "I'm pretty sure I just saw you on ABC Family..."

Contrary to our beliefs, they decided to keep our part in the movie and we were on TV.
How cool is that??


We still can't believe that we were in a movie, but it hits on our Top Ten List of the most exciting adventures we've had thus far. It was also the prime part to play as newlyweds.

What unexpected thing would go down on your Top Ten Most Exciting Adventure List?


I Want YOUR Advice : Perfumes

Whitney, here.

I need some advice. 

{Perfume from Anthropologie}

For Christmas, the only gift I'm asking for from my husband is a bottle of perfume (and maybe a pair of black TOMS). 

My biggest problem is that I see a perfume bottle, fall in love with the bottle style so hard that I want to buy it without even caring about the scent. Example: Anthropologie's Happ & Stahns Perfumers above. It's a pin cushion with the loveliest of pins on top... and it's my favorite color. Who wouldn't want something so pretty?!

I'm a lover of lotions but have yet to dabble much in perfumes. 

Perfumes seem so womanly - and I want to smell womanly!

I want to smell delightful to my husband. 

So delightful, in fact, that the words of Solomon flow from his mouth when we embrace:
"How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much better is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!"
Song of Solomon 4:10

(Ok. So he would never say those exact words... that would be weird.) 
A sweet-smellin' wife adds an extra flame to the candle.


So, here's where you come in. 

I need suggestions on perfumes that smell lovely... 

because if I try to pick one out myself, 
I will base it on the aesthetics of the bottle and not the nature of the scent.

Give me your best blogosphere spritz and help a sister out! 

Tutorial : How to Replace and Sew a Button


Have you ever lost a button in the washing machine? Or have you ever wanted to simply add a cute button to an apron or shirt? Follow this step-by-step tutorial and you will want to sew buttons onto all of your fabrics... or at least save you some money by not having to throw away clothes because they're missing a button.

Ironically, the week before I had planned to post about sewing on a button, my husband just so happened to lose a button on one of his favorite shirts while we were in Hawaii. We'll use his shirt as an example...



Step 1: Grab your supplies: seam ripper, a button, a needle, matching thread, and a pair of scissors. If you will be replacing a button on a shirt or jacket, look for the replacement button inside of the shirt material, specifically along the seam around the bottom. Then use your seam ripper to release the button from the shirt (see below).

Step 2: Find the original spot for the button or decide on the place you want to add a new embellishment button. How do you find that spot? Glad you asked. There should be either some broken thread or a couple of itty-bitty holes from where the thread was before. Still not able to figure it out? Easy sauce. Fasten up the other buttons and pass a pin through the hole of the missing button. Whichever way you do it, make sure you mark the replacement button spot with chalk.



Step 3: Thread the needle. (See below for thorough photographic instructions.) Pull one end of the thread through the eye of the needle. Pull that end of thread to meet the other. Knot the ends together by making a loop and pulling the tails through. Knot once more, and trim off any excess.



Step 4: Let's get stitchin'. First, push your needle up through the back of the fabric to the front, pulling the thread all the way through. Slide your button on down the thread to meet the fabric. Are your holes lined up with the button in place? 

Perfect. 

Now you can push your needle down through the opposite hole and out the back of the fabric. Make sure your stitching matches the pattern of your other buttons. Repeat this four or five times per hole. The thread should be tight enough as to where the button doesn't dangle. At the same time, it should be loose enough as to where your fabric doesn't bunch up. Whew! 




Step 5: Shank and Snip... Push your needle up through the back of the fabric to the shank (which is the thread located between the fabric and button). See the needle in the top two photos below? Pull the button away from the fabric and wrap your thread tightly around the shank. Simply slip the needle through the shank twice and trim the leftover thread.



Step 6: Boo-yah. Congratulations... Wear and wash that shirt with pride! Nicely done.


With that being said, learn how to sew a button.
You Only Live Once...
Linking up with Molly & Carly for #YOLOMONDAYS.

Viva Las Vegas : Happily Ever After

Have you ever been to Fashion Show Mall in Vegas? 

It's pretty epic. 

A fashion show stage and catwalk literally rise from the ground floor and models strut their stuff. As soon as the show is over, the models step back into their window-shop positions as the stage and catwalk lower back down into the basement of the mall like an elevator. 

Sheer genius.


We celebrated Jackie's birthday at Maggiano's, family style Italian. 

Mmm.


The guys fought against Optimus Prime. 


And we took a lovely family photo in front of a fountain.


Here's a few last Vegas shots for your viewing pleasure...






Thanks Chase and Jackie for letting us stay with you guys. We're super proud of the things y'all are doing in Vegas. God is doing amazing work in and through the two of you. Can't wait to see what else He will do! 


Mom and Dad  - Few kids can say that their parents have been married for 30 years... much less happily married for 30 years. Chase and I have been infinitely blessed by you two. Your kisses in the kitchen and hands intertwined when you walk have not gone unnoticed. In fact, it is the imagery of your entire marriage. Thanks for loving each other wholeheartedly. You have not only stuck with each other through the worst of sickness - but you have fought for each other within in. Thanks for rubbing mom's feet when her neuropathy kicks in full-blast and for driving dad at nighttime because glaucoma has glazed his eyes. Your support of one another is impenetrable. Thanks for remaining faithful in prayer and in the Lord when doctors said mom would only have one more year to live in her darkest time of sickness, and when doctors said dad wouldn't be able to see his daughter's birth because he would be blind by that point. 

Most people must live by faith and not by sight.

But I have seen. 

I have seen that God heals and that He does a mighty work in marriages, in families and in our bodies. Thank you for leaning on Christ and each other in times of trials rather than straying apart from one another. Thank you for setting such a pure example of marriage for Chase and Jackie, and JD and myself. 

We love you.

Here's to 50 more years of being newlyweds. ;)

Being Intentional in Marriage, especially when physically apart



JD's trip lasted an entire three and a half weeks. That's 24 days. 

I had to come up with something that would make it seem like I was there in spirit. I wanted to do more than just Face Time every day (which was still incredibly refreshing); more than a card every day; and more than just a picture every day.

So I started digging through all of our "love" keepsakes and found this oldie but goodie... 


I sent this little "scrapbook journal" to JD during his summer on a mission trip in Mobile, Ala. It is filled with quotes, lyrics, pictures, random facts about me, encouragement and sweet drawings I tore out of old books. 

And I thought, "Of course. I will make another one of these for him except I'll give him only one page per day, and he can put the journal together himself!!"

So I did.


I made a page for every day we were apart from each other and stuck each one in an envelope. I also included two binder rings and my favorite pen so he could assemble it and write back, when the opportunity arose. 

Glimpse inside...


Day 2 was awesome. I was in the grocery store, unable to Face Time with him, when he got home from work and got settled into the hotel room. (Seven hour time difference is not cool.) In honor of our tradition of putting our hotel slippers on as soon as we get to the room, he sent me some awesome photos of him pouring coffee in his hotel robe and slippers. 

Tears may have started falling down my face in Publix at this moment.




I reminded him every single day, "Don't forget to send a postcard back!!" He must have gotten tired of it by Day 21... But at least he remembered to send one back!!


We love dancing. Like. We. Love. It. We dance in the kitchen, at weddings, in the car, in the pool. You name it. We dance there. Needless to say, I was super bummed at the fact we weren't able to celebrate National Dance Day together on July 27th, so I asked him to dance in the hotel room in honor of me. But he worked 17 hours that day, Face Timed me and fell straight to sleep. I guess we'll just have to celebrate it during Date Night tonight. ;)



I begged JD to journal while he was over there. But he was honest with me and said, "I may journal like the first couple of days, but I'll get burnt out." So, I knew if I made him journal because of the journal we were putting together, he would do it. :) And he did. I made it easy for him though. He only had to "write me back" a few days and I would give him questions so he wouldn't just be saying, "Day was good, but I miss you," every day. It's not like he had much to write about, besides work, anyways. 

For example, the question on the other side of this card was, "Have you done anything cool where you are? See any shows, ride a camel, visit a museum? Write about it on the back. I'm really missing you. I love you sooo much!!"

His response: Cool architecture. Ate baby camel tonjia and Moroccan harrico soup. 

Simple and concise. Obviously, the complete opposite of my style, but that's just one more thing I love about my man. ;)





The finished product. 

It is absolutely crucial to be intentional with one another in marriage, especially when you are physically apart. I hope this gives you a few ideas in case you and your love have the unfortunate event of being separated physically for a while. This journal served as a tool for us to communicate things we might not have been able to otherwise, and gave JD something to look forward to every day!